The Chromebook category has come an awful long way over the years. The 2018 Acer Chromebook 11 goes to show just how much you can squeeze out of a £249 budget.
With both online and offline operation (something lacking at the beginning of Chromebooks' lives), plus Google Play integration for apps and games, this bullet of blue budget laptop might not look every bit as fancy as a £1,000 top-spec machine, but for a quarter of the price it's a potentially brilliant workhorse.
- 11.6-inch IPS LCD (1366 x 768 resolution)
- Touchscreen option available
- 18.1mm thick, 1.1kg weight
- Adds 2x USB 3.1 Type-C port
When the first Chromebooks hit the market years ago they had one big problem: theirs screens. The Acer Chromebook 11, however, has a perfectly acceptable screen, thanks to it being an IPS LCD panel, which means you can see it from various angles with ease.
No, it's not the brightest panel going, plus the resolution is on the low side, but for £249 it's appropriate. There's even a touchscreen option if you want to leap into the modern world.
Wrapped around that screen is a plasticky finish, shown here in blue and black combination, which has been well considered. Yes, it's plasticky, it doesn't exude quality, but the choices of textures, selections of colours and finishes goes a long way to making this Chromebook stand out above and beyond its equally budget rivals.
The real new feature for the 2018 Acer Chromebook 11 is the inclusion of USB Type-C. There are two such ports, one of which is used for charging, but that still means if you're plugged into the mains that the other is spare - something that can't be said of even the MacBook. Furthermore, Acer has included two full-size USB ports, so there's no concern with peripherals - whether you're in the here and now or looking to the future.
- Intel Celeron processor means fanless and silent operation
- 2GB/4GB RAM and 16GB/32GB eMMC storage
- Up to 10hrs battery life per charge
- Google Play supported from launch
- 2x2 MiMO Wi-Fi
Now, when it comes to power the Chromebook 11 isn't exactly super-powered. It features the latest Intel Celeron processor, which is a platform that gets a fair amount of abuse thrown its way. So, no, it's not the fastest thing going - but it can operate fanless, thus it's silent and the battery life ought to be approaching double figures.
Importantly the software - which is Google Chrome OS, not Windows or anything else - is fully up to date. That means in addition to Google's core applications, there's Google Play support, meaning it's possible to download apps and games. Nothing crazy high-end, but some Android-based apps on a larger screen can be really handy. Again, it goes to show how far Chromebook has come.
We thought the 2017 Acer Chromebook 11 was about as good as things could get around the £200 price point. For just a little more the 2018 model throws in future-proofed USB Type-C ports, a snazzy blue finish and will have Google Play integration from launch.
Sure, the screen resolution isn't all that, nor is there much storage or power on board. But at this affordable price point, Acer really does have the Chromebook market sewn up. Great for a school laptop that'll last a few years.
The Acer Chromebook 11 (CB311-8HT touchscreen / CB311-8H non-touch) will go on sale from March 2018, priced from £249/$249.